28/02/2017 15:35 GMT

Compulsory Sex And Relationships Education Set To Be Announced For Thousands Of School Students

It would represent a huge overhaul of the national curriculum.

Ministers are set to announce compulsory sex and relationships education for children as young as four, according to reports. 

It is believed that after months of campaigning and debate, the national curriculum is about to be overhauled to teach school pupils about issues such as consent, sexting and online grooming. 

A Number 10 spokesperson told the Guardian: “High quality relationship and sex education is an important part of preparing young people for adult life. 

Matt Cardy via Getty Images
Education secretary Justine Greening is set to announce compulsory SRE for all school pupils, according to reports 

“The education secretary has been clear she is looking at options to make sure children have access to education in those subjects.

“Clearly, there is a threat online and that threat has grown and now is the right time to look at how we can ensure children can have the access they need to teaching about those subjects.”

The changes to sex and relationships education (SRE) were proposed in an amendment to the Children and Social Work Bill published in the House of Commons earlier this month. 

While the campaign has focused on SRE for secondary school students and teenagers, ITV reported that the changes could be rolled out for pupils as young as four. 

They would represent a huge revision to the current curriculum - which was introduced 17 years ago - making age-appropriate, LGBT-inclusive and religiously sensitive SRE mandatory for all school pupils. 

At present, only state schools are compelled to give students sex education lessons, leaving thousands of children at academies, free and independent schools in the dark. 

State schools are only required to teach about the biological aspects of intercourse, ignoring the social and emotional aspects of relationships such as consent.  

MagMos via Getty Images
The last sex education guidelines were updated 17 years ago

It is not mandatory for them to teach about LGBT sex and relationships.

The news comes after a group of leading MPs, charities and women’s organisations sent education secretary Justine Greening an open letter demanding compulsory SRE to tackle “endemic levels of sexual harassment” in schools. 

Labour MP Stella Creasy has been outspoken about the need for change throughout the debate. 

Speaking at LGBT student event Student Pride this weekend, Creasy said: “It’s 2017 and compound interest and composting is part of the national curriculum, but consent isn’t. 

“When there are 47,000 sexual harassment reports involving young people a year - and that’s just the numbers recorded - and a third of them involve young people, we know that something has to change,” she continued. 

“We need sex and relationships education on every single school curriculum. Crucially, we need inclusive sex and relationships education on every single curriculum.”